01a Foundation Notes

Foundations of Physics
Major Scientists of Kinematics (the study of motion)
Sir Isaac Newton
Albert Einstein
1. Developed Scientific
1. Discovered concept of
1. Explained how gravity
worked through the
2. Discovered Concepts
2. Wrote 3 laws of
Theory of Relativity
of friction and inertia
Basic Units of Physics
Meters per second
Meters per second squared
Newton = kilogram meters per
second squared
(N = kg m/s2)
Wrong assumptions before the scientific method
When Galileo demolished geocentrism(belief that planets orbited the earth instead of the sun), he also
tore down several other cherished (but wrong) Aristotelian views. Aristotle explained motion by asserting
that all matter had a proper place to which it tried to return, and that heavier objects should fall faster than
lighter ones. But through meticulous experimentation, Galileo showed that objects falling or rolling
downhill accelerate at the same constant rate, which we call acceleration due to gravity
Aristotle had also argued that a moving object in its natural place, such as a ball rolling along the
ground, would gradually stop because it was its nature to stay there. But as Galileo realized, and as
Newton later formalized, the apparent slowing of moving objects was caused by friction; take that away,
and a ball would roll on forever
Along similar lines, the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic view of physics implied that a piece of shot dropped
from a ship's crow's nest would land some distance behind the mast because the ship moved forward
while the ball fell. But Galileo showed that the cannonball, which shares the ship's forward velocity, would
actually fall straight to the base of the mast. In these ways, Galileo, one of the fathers of experimental
science, prefigured Newton's laws of motion, as well as the concept of reference frames while also
disproving some of the chief arguments against Earth's movement 1
What other assumptions were believed before the scientific method? Make sure to cite your source.
1 Gerbis, Nicholas. "10 Things We Thought Were True Before the Scientific Method" 17 July 2014. HowStuffWorks.com.
<http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/10-things-we-thought-were-true-before-scientific-method.htm> 05 June